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Jens Bauer

EspressoBIN - Info: failing to write microSD card

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Just in case someone else experience this problem, this might be a solution.

 

In order to try and get my EspressoBIN to work with a port multiplier, I figured that I'd boot via a microSD card, which then does the real boot from SATA.

But I had plenty of problems writing to my microSD card, which worked fine for the CubieBoard2 a few minutes ago.

The thing I did wrong was to write (armbian) to the /dev/mmcblk1 using the DD command.

eg. dd if=/some/path/Armbian_5.50_Espressobin_Ubuntu_xenial_next_4.17.3.img of=/dev/mmcblk1 bs=1048576

... I also tried cp /some/path/Armbian_5.50_Espressobin_Ubuntu_xenial_next_4.17.3.img /dev/mmcblk1

-but that failed as well.

So I decided to use a $1-china-crap USB-cardreader and insert in the USB2.0 port.

I then used cp /some/path/Armbian_5.50_Espressobin_Ubuntu_xenial_next_4.17.3.img /dev/sdb

... and to my big surprise, this works!

I do not know if there's something wrong with the microSD card slot on the board (it reads fine from it), or if it's something else.

The only goal of this post is to tell others who experience problems with "wrong fs type" during mount attempts, even though lsblk shows it's "ext4", that they can try writing using a USB-card reader instead. - and just use 'cp' instead lf 'dd'; it does the job just as well (still you have to be careful that you're writing to the correct device, always think twice when you're writing to anything in /dev).

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On 7/8/2018 at 10:44 PM, chrisf said:

Personally, I solved my Espressobin problems by throwing it in the bin.

That is a perfectly valid solution and I understand completely. ;)

 

-Fortunately it seems I have one good board, but I also have one which is flakey.

Yeah, it seems some of the boards suffer from production issues; my guess would be that they're probably not soldered perfectly.

(eg. I've heard some people having problems running at higher frequencies, while others have no problems).

-My good board is stable, while my bad board crashes at random.

GlobalScale does not reply to my emails after I told them that I had a bad board (I've always kept a nice tone).

I know there's nothing wrong with the Armada; it's a high quality CPU. The RAM is likely also of good quality, but the placement of the RAM is, if you ask me, not a good choice. -I'd say that some of the PCB-design is not done very well; ESPECIALLY that idiotic Molex connector.

You never supply power on a male connector (basic electric/electronic knowledge) - because they easily short circuit. You don't see the pins come out of wall-sockets either - for a good reason.  

-And now Odroid seem to want to copy this stupid ritual, which means I don't need to think about purchasing anything Odroid.

 

... By the way, I got the EspressoBIN to boot directly from the low-cost JMB321 port multiplier; the boot device just need to be connected to interface 0 (which is located in the center on most low-cost Addonics/Syba/StarTech/Deltaco/DatOptic/iocrest/whatever port multipliers).

-I plan on changing to a JMB575, though - just wanted to make sure that I could use a PM before purchasing the JMB575.

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20 hours ago, Jens Bauer said:

 

my guess would be that they're probably not soldered perfectly.

My guess is PCB bad layout between the memory and SoC, where the production tolerances of the DRAM/SoC mean some work fine, other don't.

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21 minutes ago, chrisf said:

My guess is PCB bad layout between the memory and SoC, where the production tolerances of the DRAM/SoC mean some work fine, other don't.

That sounds very likely. -And likely that's why they're now shipping boards with a single 2GB chip instead of two 1GB chips.

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22 hours ago, Jens Bauer said:

And now Odroid seem to want to copy this stupid ritual, which means I don't need to think about purchasing anything Odroid

At least they put appropriate cables to their boards ...

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1 hour ago, umiddelb said:

 At least they put appropriate cables to their boards ...

Hopefully they don't provide cheap china-cables (like the broken cable shipped with my bad espessobin). ;)

How I wish EspressoBIN was made by Solid-Run instead of GlobalScale - I'm pretty sure they would have done a proper job.

I'll be going for the MacchiatoBIN soon; I don't know if I'll succeed in setting up the Espresso, but at best it'll get a job as NAS server, but I don't trust it enough to make it a mail or web server.

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4 hours ago, Jens Bauer said:

I'll be going for the MacchiatoBIN soon; I don't know if I'll succeed in setting up the Espresso, but at best it'll get a job as NAS server, but I don't trust it enough to make it a mail or web server.

 

I am entirely pleased with the performance of the EspressoBin - in particular with mainline. 

MacchiatoBin seems to consume a lot of power (20-30W in idle state).

To optimize the performance of router aspects further information about the Topaz switch is required by GlobalScale/Marvell.

From my perspective the next big thing on the horizon are SBCs with Cortex A76 cores - they will be implemented with 7nm lithography and are expected to be 35% faster than A75 cores ...

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1 hour ago, ebin-dev said:

 

I am entirely pleased with the performance of the EspressoBin - in particular with mainline. 

MacchiatoBin seems to consume a lot of power (20-30W in idle state).

To optimize the performance of router aspects further information about the Topaz switch is required by GlobalScale/Marvell.

 From my perspective the next big thing on the horizon are SBCs with Cortex A76 cores - they will be implemented with 7nm lithography and are expected to be 35% faster than A75 cores ...

 

I know the MacchiatoBIN does consume more power, but it's also a way faster creature, so I accept that. ;)

-It's not easy to find anything that gets near the MacchiatoBIN (especially due to its two 10Gbit connections).

As for energy consumption, the MacchiatoBIN can easlily run on solar panels with a battery bank and a backup from mains power; that's what I'm aiming for.

 

The EspressoBIN (when the board is perfect) is good - CPU performance might not be in the top, but it is better than a fair amount of SBCs. I could wish for a better design - I especially hate that the 2.5Gbit connection to the Topaz switch was sacrificed in order to get a USB3 port (I'm way against anything USB), but also the problem with unstable boards is a concern.

-AND that GlobalScale could make themselves find some cheap USB cable manufacturer that is just as unreliable as their boards does not add anything positive to the experience. I've also seen that Turris now use GlobalScale for their new board - and that scares me away from purchasing one. :(

 

I'm a bit dissapointed with SBCs; it all started out good in the early Raspi days, but the imagination of the board vendors are just limited to what someone else made.

I very much expected to see that native SATA would become standard on the boards (not SATA via USB) - and I  also expected multiple Gbit Ethernet ports; I also expected performance to grow and the amount of RAM to grow. -But the vendors keep making boards with similar specs to previous boards - especially TV-box vendors.

 

If I were to design a board, I'd pick one hgih-performance CPU (like the 7040 or 8040) and add a whole bunch of cheap 64-bit China chips as slaves, then inter-connect them via an on-board network switch/PHY; this would make a great compute-cluster (and build-farm). Each slave should have at least 1GB RAM (perferrably 2), one SPI-flash and one SATA connector per slave as well.

Yes, it'd be fairly expensive if the board had 16 or more slaves, but I think it'd be worth it.

 

I very much look forward to see Cortex-A76 (and even Cortex-A75) boards. I hope that the chip manufactures will add built-in support for both at least multiple 6G SATA and multiple PCIe 3.0 lanes, so we can have some "WOW"-board - yes, I'm dreaming quite a bit.. :) 

 

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